By Binta Jaiteh & AkitaniaZally
Honourable Seyaka Sonko Minister of Interior has emphasised that some of the crimes recorded happened under the influence of illicit drugs and other forms of intoxicants.
“In our collective efforts to discourage this, the drug law enforcement agency DLEAG has made some giant strikes to mitigate this scene,”
he told journalists in his office at Kotu on Friday.
According to him, as they enjoin the public to support and cooperate with the police and other forces, the ministry is poised to support operations meant to crack down on criminals and prosecute anybody found in breach of the laws of the land.
He noted that on September 19, 2022, the Ministry issued an official press statement expressing concerns about the recent trend in homicide cases across the country, saying it is worrying and signaling the need for security engagements.
These victims of murder and other forms of crime lost their lives in gruesome circumstances resulting and minor misunderstandings. Regrettably, what made this awful social phenomenon so sad and pathetic is that most of the reported cases happened in our homes and other private places thus, threatening social cohesion, peace, and security as a people.
He added, while most of these crimes committed by Gambians are homicides, we have also noted with great concern, a created scene and staged robbery involving two nationals of China who deliberately stabbed each other for sinister purposes. “My Ministry wishes to sternly condemn these crimes and calls for the immediate prosecution of the perpetrators through our competent courts of law.”
Furthermore, in swift security response, the police patrols are within and beyond the identified violent crime hotspots, in an attempt to increase police visibility for deterrence and swift response as and when the need arises. In the past week, police are searching mobile patrols and night patrols to ensure that people live in a safe and peaceful society.
“I can inform the general public that the crime rate in the country has witnessed a slight decrease (about 15% ) in the number of cases reported for the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2021 and 2022 as per our quarterly crime report,” he stated.
As part of a sustained effort to raise awareness of internal security importance, he said the Ministry works in close collaboration with the Police and other sister forces to ensure that they conduct a nationwide joint-security sensitization tour aimed to educate and raise awareness of the citizenry on security and its importance of peaceful coexistence and respect for rule of law.
“In complementing the drive to reorient the minds of the people and create awareness, I wish to call on community elders, religious leaders, youth groups, and all peace-loving and respected people in our societies to join hands and call for peace and stability in our country” he appealed
However, he said from 2016 to 2021 DLEAG registered 3442 cases involving 3544 accused persons, 1057 trafficking-related cases and 2110 possession cases. The Agency seized various types of drugs ranging from cannabis resin, cannabis sativa, clonazepam, diazepam, and ecstasy. The Agency also registered landmark seizures of cocaine and Moroccan hashish in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The landmark cocaine seizure at the Seaport in 2021 is currently ongoing in court.
He, therefore, urged and encouraged the general public to be vigilant and law-abiding for the continued peace, harmony, and stability of the country.